Hidden Treasure Discovery Centre CIC

Who are they?

Hidden Treasure are the CIC behind The Hideaway, a unique play space located above the shopping centre in Partington that uses equipment and activities to help children explore their value and worth, gifts and potential. The space is also used to build relationships with adults, meeting a holistic range of needs and supporting people into healthier lives, supportive communities, great employment and strong relationships. Putting people before profit, the organisation is a 100% social enterprise and not-for-profit.
The Hideaway is simply the first stage in a longer-term plan to develop their play facilities, and utilise the brand new Noah’s Ark resource to transform lives throughout the local community. The organisation also plan to develop schools teams who will take an incredible mobile escape room designed to look like an archaeological dig into schools, which will help children to understand their identity, skills and potential. The heart of the organisation is to take a holistic, partner-led approach to leading on community transformation.

What do they do and why?

Hidden Treasure provide a range of offers under one roof. The focus is on services which offer prevention and ongoing support as being surrounded by positive relationships supports higher levels of emotional wellbeing and increased personal resilience. Hidden Treasure believe that this encourages a society where individuals are better equipped to cope with the challenges that life throws at them.
These services and activities include:

  • Creative play space - uses a range of creative play equipment to encourage imaginative play, creativity and physical activity for younger children.

  • Children’s workshops and sessions – a packed daily programme of interactive and creative sessions following the national syllabus, covering sports, art and craft, sensory play, singing and stories and much more.

  • Schools mentoring programme – working in schools with children who are socially isolated for various reasons, supporting them to develop the skills and resources needed to flourish.

  • Helping people back into work – The Hideaway have a staff team of 30, of whom 28 live in Partington, plus volunteers. Over half were long-term unemployed before they joined the team and staff turnover at The Hideaway is extremely low. A formal mentoring programme is in development, and all staff receive pastoral care and support. Most are thriving and growing and some are doing on-the-job qualifications too.

  • Supporting local families – Hidden Treasure run internal courses and support services with volunteers and external trainers. Their goal is to build relationships with families and feed into services, support networks and churches outside of the Hideaway.

  • Supporting other organisations – we work with a range of partners including churches, third sector organisations and local businesses to support and resource one another.

So far the Hideaway has been a huge success. Within 6 months of opening their weekend party calendar was full months in advance, they generally had a ‘full’ sign on the door at least twice a week and the Hideaway won its first award for best business start-up. Their popularity enabled them to create and run a packed programme of activities for children and begin courses and sessions for adults in the evening. They started a mentoring programme in local schools for children struggling with social isolation and a group for vulnerable adults. The Hideaway project has rapidly become far bigger, more popular and more significant that anyone possibly imagined.

What funding did they receive and how did it help them?

Hidden Treasure received an investment of £33,000 including a grant of £5,000 as a contribution to their Noah’s Ark education suite and community resource space, which will enable them to run more adult courses and community support. The ark acts as an exciting volunteer hub for the wider community where local volunteers come together for training, support, mentoring and meet-ups through ‘Step Up Partington’. The loan element of the investment was for working capital, to support the development of their offer and their social impact.

“The investment from GMCVO made all the difference at a really crucial stage in our development. It gave us the freedom to press on with our social mission and focus on the work we do rather than the finances. The grant element has enabled us to build an incredible totally unique facility that is fun and engaging as well as practical. The grant has helped support the building of a classroom, community resource space, office and meeting spaces which has created a community training facility and volunteer hub for the area. GMCVO have been helpful and engaging right through the process, offering the support and advice to make the whole process as easy as possible, enabling us to focus on our work and maximise our chances of success in all that we plan to do over the coming years.” Ruth Lancey, Director, Hidden Treasure

What impact has the funding had?

The funding has enabled Hidden Treasure to turn their café into an entire ark, complete with animals! It’s a wonderful place for families to share great meals together as well as being a very practical space for people to access computers and a volunteer to help with things like job hunting or creating CVs. In the education suite local people are able to access classes free of charge to help them develop personally as well as learn new skills such as photoshop or Maths and English.
The loan element of the grant enabled the young organisation to complete the initial set-up phase and begin to focus on providing additional learning, support for families and educational activities for children. It relieved some of the financial pressures and enabled them to create a new pricing structure making the facility affordable for all and subsidised for local families – making it accessible to everyone who wants to visit.

For more information about Hidden Treasure, visit www.thehideawaymanchester.com

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